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North By Northwest (1959)

The Master of Suspense presents a 3000-mile chase across America!

Original Title : North by Northwest
Director : Alfred Hitchcock
Writer : Ernest Lehman
Genre : Adventure
Thriller
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Herbert Coleman , Alfred Hitchcock
Music : Bernard Herrmann
Photography : Robert Burks
Distributor : MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc. [us]
IMDB ID : 0053125
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poster for "North By Northwest" by Alfred Hitchcock (1959)
North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
 

Starring

Cary Grant Roger O. Thornhill/George Kaplan
Eva Marie Saint Eve Kendall
Eva Marie Saint Eve Kendall
 

Plot

Middle-aged Madison Avenue advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill is mistaken for a government agent by a gang of spies. He gets involved in a series of misadventures and is pursued across the States by both the spies and the government whilst being helped by a beautiful blonde.
 

Comments

No Question, One of Hitchcock's Finest A case of mistaken identity leads to kidnapping and more, in the suspenseful `North by Northwest,' directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant.Advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Grant) has his lunch interrupted by two men who think he's someone else, a man named Kaplan, and as they escort him from the restaurant at gunpoint to a waiting car, it's only the beginning of an adventure that will take the hapless Thornhill from New York to Mount Rushmore, and introduce him to the kind of intrigue few people experience except in the movies.And before he's through, Thornhill will have scaled the famous monument, played tag with a crop-dusting airplane and fallen in love with a beautiful woman.It's a classic case of an ordinary person getting caught up in extraordinary events, and with Hitchcock behind it all, you know it's going to be a thrilling ride.And it is. With this film, Hitchcock proves once again that he is, indeed, the Master of Suspense.With terrific foreshadowing, he has a way of tipping you off to what is about to happen, without letting you in on what's really behind the mystery.It's part of that special touch he has that keeps it all exciting and moving along, while allowing the tension to build until the very end.It's a precision balancing act-- keeping the story right on the wire while refusing to reveal any more than is necessary at any given point in time-- that few directors have managed to achieve so effectively.Hitchcock has an eye for detail, an innate sense of what works and knows just when to infuse some humor into his story, but a big part of his success is also that he knows how to exact the kind of performances he needs from his actors. Grant, as expected, gives a first-rate performance as Thornhill, using his natural charm and style to great effect, It's understated, and entirely credible.His reaction to being kidnapped is totally honest, as he affects an almost naive sense of well being even with a gun stuck in his ribs.As you can imagine it would be in a real situation like that, he simply doesn't comprehend what's really happening.And the transition from that point to when he fully realizes the danger he's in is extremely well handled and developed.It's a good bit of acting by Grant, and directing by Hitchcock. Also turning in notable performances are James Mason, suave and menacing as Phillip Vandamm, Thornhill's adversary, and Eva Marie Saint, as Eve Kendall, the woman Thornhill meets on a train and with whom he becomes quite taken, not only with her beauty, but by her candor, as well. The great thing about Hitchcock is that he sets you up so beautifully and never fails to deliver.He consistently gives you that sense that something is about to happen, and it always does.When Thornhill is standing out in the middle of nowhere at a crossroads, surrounded by nothing but fields, and you see a crop-dusting plane making a pass in the distance, and then you see it again-- but Thornhill is paying it no attention whatsoever-- you know something is up.And from that innocuous lead in, Hitchcock develops one of his most memorable scenes ever, brilliantly conceived and realized.The same thing happens when Thornhill and Eve find themselves at the top of Mount Rushmore, you know they didn't wind up there by accident. The supporting cast includes Jessie Royce Landis (Clara Thornhill), Leo G. Carroll (The Professor), Josephine Hutchinson (Mrs. Townsend), Philip Ober (Lester), Martin Landau (Leonard) and Edward Platt (Larrabee).An exciting story, some engaging performances and the indelible images this film plants in your memory, all make `North by Northwest' one of Hitchcock's finest (and that's saying a lot).Thoroughly entertaining, it's one to which you can return time and again and still be thrilled anew.You can always rely on Hitchcock to give you a good show, and show you a good time, that's the magic of Hitchcock, and it's the magic of the movies.I rate this one 10/10.
 
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North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
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North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
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North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
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North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
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North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
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North By Northwest (1959) - Alfred Hitchcock
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